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Modern History Sourcebook:
The Spanish Act of Succession, June 7, 1947

Article 1. Spain, as a political unit, is a Catholic, social, and representative state which, in accordance with its traditions, declares itself to be a kingdom.

Article 2. The office of Chief of State is held by the Caudillo of Spain and of the Crusade, Generalissimo of the Spanish Armies, Don Francisco Franco Babamonde.

Article 3. Upon the Headship of State becoming vacant, the powers thereof will be assumed by a Regency Council formed by the President of the Cortes, the Prelate of highest hierarchical standing and seniority on the Council of the Realm, and the senior Captain General, or Lieutenant General in active service, of the Army, Navy or Air Force, in this same order, or their respective substitutes appointed in compliance with the prescriptions of the next article. This Council will be presided over by the President of the Cortes, and for its decisions to be valid, the presence will be required of at least two of its three members, and always that of its President, or in default of him, that of the Vice-President of the Council of the Realm.

Article 4.I. A Council of the Realm, which will hold precedence over the advisory bodies of the nation, will assist the Head of State in the highly important matters and resolutions that fall exclusively within his competency.

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Article 6. At any moment the Chief of State may submit to the Cortes the name of the person he believes should succeed him, either as king or as regent, and according to the conditions stipulated by this law; be may also, likewise, submit to the Cortes the repeal of any previous proposal of succession, although this last may have already been accepted by the Cortes.

Article 7. Should the office of Chief of State be vacant and the successor appointed as by the previous article, the council of the regency shall assume the powers of this office to call a joint session of the Cortes and the council of the kingdom to take the successor's oath of office as prescribed in this law and to name him king or regent.

Article 8.I. Should the death of the Head of State occur, or his incapacity be declared, without a successor having been appointed, the Regency Council will assume the powers, except that of revoking the appointment of any of the members of the Council itself, who will in all cases conserve their posts, and will convoke, within a period of three days, the members of the Government and of the Council of the Realm so that, meeting in an uninterrupted and secret session, they may decide by a majority of two-thirds of those present, which must represent at least an absolute majority, as to the person of royal descent who possesses the conditions demanded by the present Law and whom they- should propose to the Cortes as King, in view of the supreme interests of the country. Should the proposal not be accepted, the Government and the Council of the Realm may formulate, by, means of the same procedure, a second proposal in favour of another person of royal descent who likewise possesses the legal conditions. II. When, in the opinion of those attending the session, there does not exist a person of the blood royal who possesses the said conditions, or when the proposals have not been accepted by the Cortes, they will propose to the latter as Regent, under the same conditions, that personality, who by reason of his prestige, capabilities and possible support by the nation, should occupy this office. On formulating this proposal, they may stipulate a time-limit and conditions as to the duration of the Regency, and the Cortes must decide on each of those points. If the person proposed as Regent should not be accepted by the Cortes, the Government and the Council of the Realm must effectuate new proposals, complying with the same procedure, until such time as they, obtain the acceptance of the Cortes. III. In the hypotheses to which the foregoing paragraphs refer, should the two-thirds majority not be obtained in the first division, a second and, if necessary, a third division will be called. In this last vote, a majority of three-fifths will suffice for the validity of the decision, which vote must represent at least an absolute majority. IV. The Plenary Session of the Cortes must be held within a maximum period of eight days following each proposal, and once the favourable vote of the Cortes has been obtained in accordance with the prescriptions of article 15, the successor will take the oath required by this Law, in virtue of which the Regency Council will at once transfer their powers to him. V. Until such time as the provisions established in Article 11 of this Law are fulfilled, on the Headship of State becoming vacant, the appointment of a successor will be proceeded with, in accordance with the precepts of the present article.

Article 9. To exercise the Headship of State as King or Regent it will be necessary, to be of the male sex and a Spaniard, to be thirty years of age, to profess the Catholic religion, to possess the qualities necessary for the fulfillment of this high mission, and to swear the Fundamental Laws, as also loyalty to the principles that make up the National Movement. The same oath must be taken by the successor after reaching the age of thirty.

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Article 11. I. Once the Crown has been established in the person of a King, the regular order of succession will be that of primogeniture and representation, with preference of the first line over the later ones; in the same line, of the nearer over the more remote degree; in the same degree, of the male over the female, who can not reign but can , if necessary transmit the right to her heirs; and, within the same sex, of the senior in age over the younger; all of which without prejudice to the exceptions and requisites stipulated in the preceding articles. II. In case the heir to the Crown, in accordance with the order established in the previous paragraph, should not have reached the age of thirty at the moment of the throne becoming vacant, his public functions will be exercised by a Regent appointed in accordance with Article 8 of the Law, until such time as he is of legal age. III. The same norm will be applied if, owing to incapacity of the King, appreciated in the manner stipulated in Article 14 of this Law, the Cortes should declare the opening of the Regency and the heir should not yet have reached the 'age of thirty. IV. In the hypotheses of the two preceding paragraphs, the Regency will end as soon as the cause that has motivated it has ceased to exist or has disappeared.

Article 12. All delegation of rights before assuming the throne, abdication once the successor has been named, renunciation in any case, royal marriage and marriage of the immediate successor must be approved by the Cortes after report from the council of the kingdom.

Article 13. On the advice of the council of the kingdom, the Chief of State may submit to the Cortes the exclusion from succession of those persons of royal blood who lack the necessary capacity to govern or, because of their noted indifference to the basic principles of the State or because of their actions, have forfeited their rights to succession as established by this law.

Article 14. The incapacity of the Chief of State, appraised by two-thirds of the members of the government, shall be communicated by report to the council of the kingdom. Should the council agree to this report, by two-thirds majority, its president shall submit it to the Cortes which, meeting within eight days, shall adopt the necessary measures.

Article 15. I. For the decisions of the Cortes to which this Law refers to be valid, there will be required a favourable vote of two-thirds of the Deputies present, which must be the equivalent, at least, of the absolute majority of the total number of Deputies. II. However, in the hypotheses to which Articles 6 and 8 of the present Law refer, should the majority of two-thirds not be obtained in the first division, a second and, if necessary, a third division will be called. In this last vote, it will suffice, in order for the decision to be valid, to obtain a majority of three-fifths, which must be the equivalent at least of the absolute majority.


Source:

Act of Succession, made available in translation through the courtesy of the Embassy of Spain, Washington, D.C., and appears here as amended by the Organic Law of the Spanish State, December 22, 1966.


This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
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© Paul Halsall, July 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu